Domestic abuse offenders targeted under new scheme
Dorset’s most high-risk domestic abuse perpetrators are now being targeted under an innovative scheme aimed at making victims safer and reducing reoffending rates.
The Drive Programme is being launched this month after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner successfully bid for more than £90,000 of Home Office funding last year.
Dorset Police will now begin contacting those identified as the most serious offenders, responsible for domestic violence as well as coercive and controlling behaviour, and will offer resources to help them change their behaviour.
Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “This innovative scheme has been hugely successful in other parts of the UK and I’m proud my office has enabled it to come to Dorset, stopping perpetrators continuing their abuse and protecting vulnerable people in our county.”
The Hampton Trust, who will run the scheme, have recruited case managers and aim to work with up to 100 domestic abuse perpetrators throughout the year.
Perpetrators will be assigned a Drive case manager who will then work with a range of organisations to stop their ability to abuse their partners, while also working with them on interventions that will remove the barriers to behaviour change – such as support with substance abuse or mental health problems.
Dorset Police and the probation service will closely monitor those taking part in the scheme, while the Force will also work closely with housing associations, local authorities and other organisations.
Drive has been successful in other parts of the country, with analysis from The University of Bristol showing that in over 500 cases, physical abuse reduced by 82%, sexual abuse reduced by 88% and harassment and stalking behaviours reduced by 75%.
Dorset OPCC worked closely with the Force, as well as both councils and public health to secure £90,606 funding from the Home Office Perpetrator Fund. A range of partners including Dorset OPCC, Dorset Council and Public Health England will provide match funding.
Director of Drive, Kyla Kirkpatrick, said: “As the service in Dorset launches, we will be working closely with Dorset OPCC, Dorset Police, Dorset Council, and Public Health England to increase the safety of victims and survivors by ensuring those who are causing the harm – the perpetrators – receive a response that will work to prevent and end their abusive behaviour.
“We know that to fully respond to domestic abuse, comprehensive support for all victims and survivors and responses to all perpetrators is crucial. We commend our partners in Dorset for their commitment to preventing and ending domestic abuse.”
Chief Inspector Julie Howe said: “Domestic abuse is a key priority for Dorset Police. It is an abhorrent crime committed against victims and their families by those who should love and care for them. Dorset Police see the devastating effects on those who experience, and are exposed to it. We are committed to ensuring that vulnerable victims experiencing domestic abuse have access to all the support that they need.
“The Drive programme means we can go further by tackling the root cause – the perpetrator. We can work with them one-to-one to reduce their own vulnerability and change their offending behaviour.
“We will continue to take a robust approach to those offenders who are not willing to take up the support offered to help them change their behaviour.”
A former Drive service user said:
“I see how my behaviour has affected my partner, my son, and my family, and how if I didn’t change, I wouldn’t have a positive relationship with anyone.”